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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,

Good trail work conditions have arrived!

As I've said before, 90% of the work we are doing this season is stuff that I expected to have to do anyway. All of the switchbacks need to be worked a lot more.. The backslope needs to be bevelled. The bench needs to be widened in the majority of places. Sure there's some stuff that I have to do that I don't agree with. But the end result is still going to be very sweet. Even sweeter than it is now. There is a lot of craftwork to be executed here. Come on out and make your mark!





9:00 am, Hunting Hollow.

We begin with a brief orientation, beginning with signing in, which includes a statement of the day's objectives, safety, and the free maps, food, and Jim Donnelly 2012 T-shirt.

Parking is free for trail workers. Make sure you get a signed parking stub from me to put in your window.
 

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M8 M12 M15 deez nuts
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So is this a “ride-bikes-out-n-git-r-dun” sort of trailwork extravaganza, or the “hike-r-out-n-git-r-dun” sort of ordeal? Would love to help out, just need to get a free pass from my wife first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Photos from Nov 10

A small scorpion!



Dmitry getting a start on a prescribed insloped drain.



The pen is mightier than the McCleod. A class 1 trail should be a 4 foot wide full bench where practical. This location is practical and appropriate for the full bench. The macleod is 4 feet long. Partial bench, in this photo below, starts on the outer edge about where the just visible marking paint on the macleod handle ends. The prescriptive labor here is to bench into the upslope (to the right). This will put a little curvature into the trail, which will look and ride nice as well. When soil conditions are right, as expected for this weekend, this sort of work is a real pleasure.



The bottom leg of the JDT still has an unfinished backslope. The uphill side of the trail is too vertical to meet CSP expectations. We probably will not work on this exact section, but beveling the backslope to as close to a 1:1 slope as possible will be a common task this Saturday.





Outslope, angling the base of the trail tread downward to facilitate sheet drainage of water off the trail, needs to be built right in to the trail upon construction. A smart level is the easiest way to determine what you have. At a minimum IMHO we need to have outslope grade between 5% and 22%. DPR is happy to see 8% to 15%. in practical terms, outslope needs to be at least a few percent steeper than half of the trail grade (I had written cross slope which was not correct). Trail grade varies.

 

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middle ring single track
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Your option...

So is this a “ride-bikes-out-n-git-r-dun” sort of trailwork extravaganza, or the “hike-r-out-n-git-r-dun” sort of ordeal? Would love to help out, just need to get a free pass from my wife first.
More of a “hike-r-out-n-git-r-dun”. You could bring your bike along if you wanted to do a ride afterwards but it would mostly be getting in the way for the trailwork. The section being worked on is from 1/4 to 1-1/2 miles from the parking lot (walking distance)

<< Correction; I just learned that the Sorcerer intends us to work from the tool cache at the 1-1/2 mile point back down towards the parking lot. In that case riding a bike up to where the tools are located makes a lot of sense. (If you don't mind riding in your trail work clothing) >>
 

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I would love to be able to occasionally help for trail days like this. I love trail building. Unfortunately I have family obligations this weekend that I can't miss, but moving forward I would really love to be out helping!
 

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Digging it...

Trail working conditions were near-perfect; fine weather and soft ground. There were seven of us volunteers and two staffers from Parks. At the suggestion of Sorcerer, Monterey District Trails Supervisor John Hiles had us form into a forestry-style "hook line" (construction line) work crew---the first time I've worked on one and it worked quite well. Here's a couple of time-lapse videos:
The yellow hard hat is John; unlike the "supervisors" of the VoCal event last spring on the JDT he worked hard all day long---and supervised!

This includes the lunch break; also a couple of bikers roll through if you watch carefully.

This effort yielded a little less than 400 feet of trail completed to CSP's "Class I" standard; about what we'd get with individuals working separately but with the "hook line" the results look much more consistent.

The w-i-d-e "Class I" standard being applied to the JDT is controversial, most bikers would be happy with a narrower Class III or IV trail, but to qualify as a Multi-Use Trail it has to be Class I under current State guidelines. We've been over this before; complaining at the local level will get us nowhere---to get change at the State level is daunting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Dirt Sidewalk Construction

Hey Everybody!

With propitious conditions for trail way excavation, a small group of JDT construction veterans gathered amidst the frosty environs of Hunting Hollow.



Last week's storms swelled creeks and washed gullies. Reports coming in tell of significant soil and silt migration. Coyote Creek is a large tributary to the Guadalupe River. It probably conveys enough silt to fill Coyote Lake in the next century.



Critters great and small revel in the rains which rejuvenate these fabulous hills. We are stirred to get things done.



The Jim Donnelly Pond did not fill all the way to the brim.



Hunting Hollow Creek was pretty high last weekend!



Okay, so onto the trail work event. Among those present, 4 of the 9 people (including staff) were mountain bikers. [ Practially everyone is a hiker, right? ]. Last month's TW was hampered by difficult dry conditions. Last month, under the direction of a 30 year State Parks career trails veteran, we diminished the small grade reversal on the bottom leg of the JDT. Volunteers were instructed to flatten the reversal and place the spoils in the dip. I protested that this would create a mud pit. It did, but at least it is temporary. That section will see more attention. No pics though.

The career trail guy from last month aptly suggested that we work from the top down (in this situation from the picnic table down). I agree. No matter that this sensible tactic was in direct contradiction to the Superintendent who said he wanted to see the trail "fixed" from the bottom up. Upon Bill's suggestion we worked down this Saturday.

The great thing is that we have a tool trailer up there with enough tools for 18 workers thanks to the gang-box which Pliebenberg fabricated for the PRA. Last month, after trail work, I went up there and wiped all the handles with linseed oil. Staff Maintenance 1 worker Eric had put new tires on our 2 wheel barrows too.

Another small but great thing is that the Trail Supervisor gave us a Smart Level tool to keep in our gang box. (I need to stock AAA batteries up there for it. -reminder to self)



Since current standards rely chiefly upon outslope to discourage hydraulic erosion, making sure the trail has sufficient outslope with an accurate instrument is crucial.



Sorcerer gets fired up.



We headed up to the picnic take and worked down using a what I call a "Hook Line" team trail construction methodology. I asked our Trails Supervisor to lead us on this type of trail-way excavation. Pliebenberg took the front. Everyone else in between, I took the rear. Supervisor John scribed the backslope edge limit and floated around.



We were instructed to "keep our dime", which means to keep 10' of space between each worker for safety. At first we didn't do this. It takes a while for the line to get underway and moving. Eventually the work became paced and spaced.



Our goal was simply to widen the full bench to four feet and obtain as close to a 1:1 or 45 degree angle backslope, and leave a completed trail surface behind us.



After a while we got some results.



That became this:



And while we all realized that what we had done was a sort of "exercise" we also digested that this was a more permanent little bit of trail. Sure it'll all come back to the typical 15 inch line.



The crew worked it's way down the trail and around the climbing turn.



The Jim Donnelly shirt is excellent trail wear.



The gang was excited to get to where there was a real side-slope to the hillside, where all the hard work would be.



Behind them I worked to finish the tread and ensure that sufficient outslope was obtained.



After a real blush of production there was some fatigue, and work settled into a more sustainable pace.



And a sustainable bland trail resulted behind us.



Pliebenberg set up his GoPro to make another of his great time-lapse videos.



A full four foot bench was obtained.



We took a break at 12:10. Here you see Supervisor John sitting on the trail where the widening excavation remaining is plainly evident.



Essentially we doubled the width of the trail where our work was completed. This may make the trail faster to descend without additional work. It becomes straighter.



The trail varies in grade. This section is at 14%.



By 2:30 more frequent breaks for conversation signaled that the work for the day was coming to a close.

That's all for now.
 

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Paper or plastic?
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Since they want a wide trail, why don't they just Sweco it to 4'?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Zorg, it's a good question. We've been around this question before, from the very beginning. In fact the original plan was to pilot bench it, and then have a Sweco operator bench it.

CSP Monterey has only one qualified operator, and that operator doesn't like to operate the Sweco. Plus there was no budget for this. In part this trail was approved predicated on the idea it would be built primarily with volunteer labor. Some of us, me included, wanted to have it handbuilt. We thought we could create something special. Now, however, that's gone, and so have most of the volunteers.

In addition, the lower 3rd, a mile, of the trail wends tightly through oak trees. That section could not be built with a Sweco and preserve the woodland. A good section of the lower 3rd will remain narrower.

The top 3rd, another mile would be great to bench with a Sweco.

Drew Perkins suggested that we get an IMBA operator to come out and do the work. Great idea, but it hasn't been pursued. I'm no too sure that it was a really viable idea.

The middle 3rd of the trail is still rudimentary, and very charming for that reason.

On April 20th weekend the VOCal crew plans to come out and build the top section of the trail again.

I'd expect most of the bottom mile to be completed this year.

Realistically, I think the middle section may get left alone this year.

We have a major problem now with all of the other trails in the park needing maintenance really badly. All of the attention to this trail coupled with a prohibition of tread work without paid staff supervision has left us unable to attend to a growing list of trail issues.

It's definitely frustrating.

After Nov 10:



After Dec 8:

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
By the way, myself and a couple of others brought bikes and rode up to the picnic table. A short ride. Then at the end of the day, we rode back down from the picnic table. There was time to ride up to the top of the mtn and back down a different way if we wanted to. So bikes are definitely welcome and they get you up there faster than walking.

We'll continue to work down from the picnic table, unless circumstances need us to stay low. That way we get a good warm-up and can see the standard we are working towards. It's a little easier to bench trail moving downwards, than upwards.
 

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Great update on the JDT! Paul the time lapse is one of my favorites and really look forward to it when you get a chance to do it. The time lapse and write ups are great tools for new trail work volunteers and perhaps some veterans as well. Wish I could be up there with you. (Ruptured Achilles and will be on the sidelines for a couple of months.)

I have a request? Could someone follow up (six months) on the same section of trail that was worked on with some progression pictures. If possible would like to see some of the same outslope measurements in the same spots.

Thanks to all the volunteers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Follow-up metrics and photos are a good suggestion. Thanks, we'll do that for sure.

By the way, as the finisher and quality control person at the end of the hook line, I found mixed results in outslope from the crew. It's not a negative criticism; they need to keep moving; the whole point. Usually it was within spec more or less, but more often I found less outslope than adequate. I resorted to measuring the local trail grade to make sure that the minimum I obtain was at least a couple of percent more than half of the trail grade. I had to pull and shovel a lot of material of the edges of the trail to be able to wokr on the outlsope without having the beginnings or foundation of an outside berm. It would be best to have at least a pair work together as the finishing crew here.

Since the JDT sections we are working on are pretty much completed trail to a different standard we are experiencing a variation in trail construction.

Anyway, no matter what, the crew needs to strive for more outslope.
 

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This thread pisses me off.


I guess the only silver lining is we'll be able to go even faster and be more dangerous on the trail since it's so friggin wide now. Might also be wide enough to drive up, which means SHUTTLE RUNS!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Plus, plenty of room for passing!

Four volunteers and the Backcountry Ranger were supposed to meet today to begin (maybe complete) the work needed on the bottom switchback built on a retaining wall of cast stone. That will be interesting to see. Doubtless Pliebenberg will provide us with an entertaining visual update and responses to the peanut gallery.
 

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middle ring single track
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Indeed...

Plus, plenty of room for passing!

Four volunteers and the Backcountry Ranger were supposed to meet today to begin (maybe complete) the work needed on the bottom switchback built on a retaining wall of cast stone. That will be interesting to see. Doubtless Pliebenberg will provide us with an entertaining visual update and responses to the peanut gallery.
...we did; 3 biker dudes and a horse gal---we got in a solid 4 hours of digging. I should have had a really great time lapse but I mistakenly grabbed a GoPro that wasn't charged so I only got enough images for 6 seconds of video. Oh well...

Here are some frames from same:





Travis, Philip and myself worked the switchback; Sue was working by herself further down at the very start of the JDT.


We got about 1/2 of the earth moved required to finish this turn; probably around 8 or 9 tons.


This is one of the few areas where I don't mind widening the trail; along with increasing the turning radius to spec it provides width for a necessary passing zone.


The turn has been benched to width; the 1:1 back-slope needs to be completed as does the in-slope drain.

Some MTBers rode through; they referred to the turn as the "Home Depot Corner" (because of the landscaping-block retaining wall)---I think that name should stick as it's very descriptive. As it is, the turn has been confusingly called either the "First Turn" or "Switchback 24".
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Getting there. Looks like the dirt was good. Heavy trail petting? ...not too wet and heavy and not too dry and hard?


 

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Rocks and roots galore

Looks like the dirt was good. Heavy trail petting? ...not too wet and heavy and not too dry and hard?
Yeah well the dirt was soft enough when you could find it; this location is loaded with rocks and roots; none too big---but the combination was like concrete where the rocks were the aggregate and the roots were the rebar. And the "wet and heavy" made the wheelbarrowing a bit of a chore; there were several "rollovers"!


I reckon we moved about 70 loads.

This is a good a place as any to jump in and start revealing the "forbidden fruit" of the CSP "Trails Handbook"; since we recruit some of our volunteers through MTBR I think there's a justification to preview here the documents to which we need to pay heed.

This exact "Trail Log" spreadsheet format is not in the Trails Handbook but follows the general guidelines:

This was prepared by the District Trails Supervisor with our help, the mark-ups are mine from when I flagged the work areas.

You'll notice at "Begin Feet" 377 the action is to re-construct a switchback to "...State Park Handbook for guidelines". A bit of a mis-statement because we're just completing construction, nothing needs to be reconstructed. Here are the guidelines:




Quoting the accompanying text:
"10.3.4 Switchback Construction


A location that generally avoids switchbacks is preferable but some may be necessary in steep terrain . When they are needed, they should be located to use natural topography and vegetative screening and allow for variety of views. The lengths of the segments between switchbacks can be varied to introduce variety. Repeated and visible switchbacks create excessive disturbance of vegetation and soil and severely scar the landscape. They also introduce monotony by repeatedly presenting the same view to the user. Steepening the trail in the immediate area of the switchback to maximum allowable limits will discourage short cutting by trail users.

Switchbacks can often be avoided in a country of small hills by winding the trail completely around a hill, giving a variety of vistas to the user. In fact, good trail layout may utilize a small rise of ground or "hill" on a general Slope to change the direction of a trail without the need for a switchback and so that a maximum elevation difference between adjacent trail sections on the same slope can be obtained.

When switchbacks are necessary, construct the turns as flat as possible. On sideslopes of less than 30 per cent, treat the switchback as a climbing turn. If this results in the center line grade being steeper than is desirable, shorten the radius and design a step section. (See Figures 10.6 and 10.7)

Log or rock barriers should be installed between the lower and upper legs of the switchback. Provide 15-30 feet of barrier back from the turning point to prevent foot or horse traffic from crosscutting inside the switchback creating ruts followed by erosion (see Tread Maintenance).

Tread width on sharp switchbacks shall be at least double the trail width on landings . Where the outer trail tread margin is along a very steep slope or cliff, the trail tread may be 4 feet wide and over.

Switchbacks include the 16 foot upper approach trail section, the 16 foot lower approach trail section and the 16 foot turn section with a radius of 5 to 7.9 feet. This also includes the construction of a rock barrier or other control device for traffic control for each switchback.

Where constructed in soil or in mixed soil and rock, they shall be formed with the lower half of the tum section and the adjacent 8 feet portion of the lower approach section as a compacted embankment. Material encountered in the excavation of the approach sections of the switchback shall be conserved and utilized for fill material to make the required embankment. The embankment shall be constructed in conformance with the grade line, cross section and slope stake markings as staked on the ground. To provide firm bonding of the embankment on the steep side slope, the surface of the natural slope shall be trenched or stepped before placing fill material.

Formation of the embankment shall be by layer placement. Fill material shall be placed in layers not exceeding 24 inches before compaction. Where material contains a large amount of rock, the fill shall be formed by working smaller rocks and fines into the voids. Available rock at the location and additional rock within 200 feet distance of the switchback, as needed, will be uniformly distributed by hand placement in the outer 2 feet portion of the fill. Rock shall constitute not less than 25% of the fill material used to construct the outer 2 feet of the
compacted embankment. As a minimum, 20% of the surface area of the fill slope will be exposed faces of embedded rocks of a size that have at least one 12 inch dimension. An 8 inches shoulder shall form the top edge of the embankment.

The upper half of the switchback shall be a full bench, constructed by excavating to the specified width and grade. Cut banks of the approach sections shall be uniform with the adjacent trailway excavation. Bank gouging and excessive back slope excavation is not permitted.

Switchbacks constructed on rubble rock and Talus slide areas will be formed by firmly anchoring large rock or keyed-in boulders for the toe of a rock fill. The rock fill portion will be constructed by hand placement of header stones and rock material of random sizes. The finished fill slope shall be approximately 112 to 1 and be stable. The trail bed area shall have all holes and cracks filled with small rocks and fine material to form a firm compacted base extending 2.feet or more in depth below the surface. The surface shall be relatively smooth and free of any protruding rocks.

Where backslopes are of Talus and rubble rock slides, the area immediately above the switchback shall be stabilized. Unstable material and loose rocks shall be removed.

Switchbacks located at solid rock or ledge rock sites shall be constructed as a full bench. The trail bed surfaces shall be made relatively smooth. Protruding rock shall be removed and depressions in the tread filled with fine aggregate.

10-17

A gutter type ditch, 8 inches deep and 12 inches wide across the top, shall be constructed along the bottom of the cut bank to extend from the spill point up grade for a distance of 20 feet The trail tread paralleling the ditch shall have a 10% inslope that will drain water from the tread into the ditch. The tread surface, down grade from the crown line for a distance of 20 feet, shall be constructed with a 10% outslope that will drain water off the trail.

A traffic control barrier shall be constructed at each switchback . This barrier shall be constructed by placement of large rock along the outer edge of the up grade trail section forming a
continuous barricade. The barrier shall be a minimum of 14 inches high and extend from the crown line on the tum section up grade for a minimum distance of 15 feet. Hand rail type barriers are an alternative.

The upper and lower 20 feet approach sections extending away from the turning point and the tum section shall be constructed to have not less than 36 inches tread width. The tread on the approach sections and on the tum section shall not exceed the prevailing grade of the trail and have no surface rocks over 2 inches in diameter or solid rock protrusions above the trail bed."


Whew...

More to come; probably in a new thread.
 

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The insanity of it all

Hey Everybody!

With propitious conditions for trail way excavation, a small group of JDT construction veterans gathered amidst the frosty environs of Hunting Hollow....

That's all for now.
There's a serious detachment from the realities of Coe going on in those "after photos".

In the "before" picture, the trail still needs refinement (backslope, compaction, etc.), but in the after photos, two things jump out:

1. The massive amount of soil that was needlessly excavated; minimal disturbance is clearly not a priority of the state.

2. Even with outslope, that trail WILL trench down the center, once a user path is defined. Water has nowhere to go but further down the trail, and continual "maintenance" will now be required. Who is on the hook for that? Who suffers if it is not performed?

Backslope looks nice, though.

-D
 

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